Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 14, 2006


Let me say, first of all, that I - like many other Mets fans - will be very happy after this season is done to never see Steve Trachsel in a Mets uniform again. Granted, Trachsel pitched some fine baseball before his back injury in 2004, but he's never been the same since.

It's not just that Trachsel pitches badly so often, but that he most frequently pitches his worst at the start of the game, so there's no way to get him out of there before he does his damage.

With Trachsel leaving in the second, that rainout stripping the Mets of a travel day off is looking huge right now.

And so is Game Two. It was the fifth time in fourteen postseason serieses in franchise history that the Mets have blown a lead at home in the sixth inning or later - and it has not been a good omen:

1. 1973 NLCS Game 4: up 1-0 into the 7th, Mets lose 2-1 in 12 innings. Mets go on to win the clincher the next game.

2. 1973 World Series Game 3: up 2-0 into the 6th and 2-1 into the 8th, and ended up losing 3-2 in 11 innings. Mets lost the series in 7 games.

3. 1988 NLCS Game 4: the Mike Scioscia game - up 4-2 into the 9th, Scioscia homers off Dwight Gooden, and the Dodgers win 5-4 in 12 innings. Mets lost the series in 7 games.

4. 2000 World Series Game 5: Mets lead 2-0 into the 6th, Yankees tie it up and score 2 in the 9th to end the series.

Of course, much as I'd like to see no more Trachsel next year, I also don't especially want tonight's injury to promote Oliver Perez to third starter.

I'm already very sick of Scott Speizio's . . . it's not really a beard so much as a tassel.

I guess they will ask Suppan after the game why he was winking at Trachsel before his home run - maybe he was talking some trash about the last homer he hit off Trachsel?

I was astonished this morning to see the papers all blaming Wagner for last night's debacle - sure, Wagner blew up and lost the game, but Mota was the one who lost the lead.

Why was I not surprised at the graphic last night saying that Lo Duca's favorite actor is Robert DiNiro?

I'm not thrilled to see Oliver batting in the third, but I guess you can't burn all your pitchers in the third inning.

Down by less than 5, I think that triple by Reyes went far enough that it could have been an inside the park HR.

I'd feel a lot better about the Mets being in a hole here if they were hitting the ball well.

TRIVIA QUIZ - Answer below the fold. They said that Jim Leyland is now the 7th manager to take a team to the World Series in each league. Can you name the other six?

Great job by Darren Oliver to settle back down, albeit after aggravating the bases-loaded situation he inherited from Trachsel.

Ack! Valentin gets thrown out stretching a single to a double down 5-0. Which completely kills the inning.

Now I'm really baffled as to why Oliver bats a second time leading off the sixth. Is Randolph writing off Game 3?

OK, I am ready for Gonzalez and McCarver to shut up now. Which is not to say I'm not sick of Joe Buck, too.

It's extremely frustrating to see Yadier Molina ripping the ball - I'd call him the poor man's Ben Molina, but Jose already has that role filled.

If the Mets lose this series, the odds of Omar giving Jeff Suppan an imprudently large free agent contract have to be rising. (Although as I have noted before, Minaya hasn't actually pulled the trigger on that many bad moves - it's just the things he's been rumored to do.. And of course you can't argue with the results of a lot of his gambles.). Suppan is basically the same pitcher Trachsel used to be, a guy who gives you a steady 32-33 starts a year right around the league ERA. I remember when he was a hugely touted ("next Greg Maddux") Red Sox prospect, but he's long since made his own record to be judged against.

Roberto Hernandez is definitely leading the team in most games warmed up without pitching. Looks like we might see him come in next, though.

I really feel bad for Matt Cerrone; if you haven't been there, his site is down, at the worst possible time for a Mets blog to be down.

It would really be nice for Wright to get a hit in this series .. . . after that seventh inning I'm all but ready to write this game off myself. If you can't tell, I'm not in a real optimistic mood right now.

I know there's no one way to win a baseball game, but it will be very, very useful if the Mets can score in the top of the first tomorrow night before Perez takes the mound. The upside is that a good outing by Perez would wash away the past two years.

OK, we go to the 8th inning needing five runs before the Cards get six outs. It can be done; this team can do it.

Leadoff walk in the 8th for Green. It's a start.

Make that five runs vs. three outs. Now we are in serious miracle time.

Down without a fight. The only good things there are to say about this game are (1) it's just one game, (2) it's over, and (3) they didn't burn much of the bullpen, other than the fact that we won't see Darren Oliver again for a while.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Tony LaRussa, Sparky Anderson, Dick Williams, Yogi Berra, Joe McCarthy, and Alvin Dark.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:57 PM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)

Disappointing, sure.

But hey, what kind of cheese goes with your whine?

Seriously, as an Indians fan who has been a fan of your blog... what happened to that other 2nd game post you promised? At least you can take some solice in the fact that your team isn't choking... rather, they are simply not the same team that got them this far.

Then again, maybe I could become a fan of a New York team if this one overcomes the realities a long season does.... kind of like the Buffalo Sabres of last season.

Then again, no. That team wasn't a high salary team, and they are from the center of the universe either.

Here's rooting for a Cardinal-Tigers series.


Posted by: Dave at October 14, 2006 10:05 PM

What can I say? Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging. And most of the stuff I was going to use in the rest of that post last night before I got interrupted is right here in this one.

Posted by: Crank at October 14, 2006 10:17 PM

I got two - LaRussa and Sparky. I forgot Yogi managed the Yankees, and let's face it, I never knew Mccarthy managed the Cubs to a freakin' pennant.

Best. Manager. Ever!

Posted by: Mark at October 14, 2006 10:47 PM

Works for me. I mean that.

Tough for a guy who likes teams fromCleveland and Buffalo to have sympathy for you - but the Mets were the best team into August. They are not the same team right now.

Of course, any team with Pedro has to expect that. Sorry, couldn't resist.

I'm surprised at how two teams that did some serious backing into October are now potentially playing for it all. Even the Mets didn't do that.

Posted by: Dave at October 14, 2006 11:07 PM

Tony La Russa, Sparky Anderson, Yogi Berra, Dick Williams, Joe McCarthy, Alvin Dark

Posted by: Jerry at October 14, 2006 11:21 PM

Ya Gotta Believe!

Posted by: Dr. Blogstein at October 15, 2006 3:20 AM

Dang it, I forgot all about Alvin Dark. My best memory of him is his years in Cleveland when I was a kid and being an Indians fan in the 60's and 70's doesn't make ya think of the World Series. His life story could be turned into a pretty interesting book. He was the second Rookie of the Year. Managed several teams. There was some sort of accusations of racism against him when he was Giants manager that he only survived because Willie Mays stood up for him. Maybe he can do a Jack McKeon type comeback he has only been out of baseball for 30 years.

Posted by: LargeBill at October 15, 2006 8:46 AM

Thanks for the kind words, Dave. I don't know what kind of cheese Crank wants, but the whine seems made for your sour grapes, so it's bad to start with.


I was glad, actually, so see Willie handle Oliver as he did, letting him hit in the 6th. Of course a good hitting team can come back from 5 down, but it's unlikely. I would've hated to see innings wasted from Feliciano & ChadBrad in a losing effort.

Perez faces a very bad pitcher tonight, and tomorrow Glavine's on short rest . . . but so is Weaver. This baby could easily be 3-2 Mets when they head back to Queens for game 6.

I don't gotta believe -- but I can. And I do. The Mets are a good team, while the Cards not so much. Two straight road wins against a #5 starter & a career head-case on short rest is what great teams do when their backs are to the wall. Gut check time.

I'm guardedly optimistic.

Posted by: Mike at October 15, 2006 8:50 AM

Yadier is the homeless man's Ben Molina.

Y'all just got whupped by Jeff Suppan. Jeff Freaking Suppan. When this guy was in the AL he could not make a playoff roster. You have got to be seriously worried not only about what happens against the Cards but if the Mets get by them about the beat down they'll take from the Tigers. This is clearly the battle for 2nd place.

Posted by: jim at October 15, 2006 10:12 AM

It's one game, Jim. Met fans should be afraid of winning the NLCS only to lose the World Series? Good point, I don't know about the Crank, but I am freaking terrified. And worried, seriously worried. Fear and terror aside, I'd have preferred to see Williams get the ball over Perez, but Willie and Omar saw it differently. And they've done pretty damn well this year.

Posted by: abe at October 15, 2006 11:26 AM

Mike, how can you say Reyes is a bad pitcher. He is a rookie who has pitched like one. He has also turned in some outstanding performances this season. I rate the pitching match as a slight favorite to Reyes.

As the only Cardinals fan, hey I grew 100 miles north in the days of Gibson. Brock and, yes, Torre, I have to admit the if Pedro and El Duque were healthy this series might be looking different right now. That being said, that is why you play the games and have 25 men on your roster.

All that being said, I think the sacking of Lyons by Fox for comments made during the game is lame. Don't misunderstand, Lyons is a lousy announcer, but his comments were obviously made in fun.

Posted by: mad Irishman at October 15, 2006 11:32 AM


He may become a wonderful pitcher, being young, a rookie, etc.

But right now, with his 5.00+ ERA, he's just a bad pitcher. Just as Koufax, Maddux and many others were when they were rookies.

d you rather have had starting game 7 of the '55 series? A good-but-not-great starter like Podres or Sandy Koufax?

Posted by: Mike at October 15, 2006 1:52 PM


Yeah, it's one game and you got shut out by a journeyman and he hit a dinger. The Mets sort of have the stink of the Yankees on them right now in that they were HEAVILY favored to cruise through the pathetic NL, they got beat like a drum yesterday, the bats are very, very quiet and situations like this sometimes are not good for the super-heavily favored. Sometimes getting off the canvas is not so easy. Also, this is supposed to be about winning a title so if you aren't ready for what lies on the other side of the quagmire that is St. Louis then I guess you really are just thinking about and playing for second.

Posted by: jim at October 15, 2006 2:36 PM

Jim, A) at least we are playing for something. B) Heavily favored? False. After Pedro and El Duque went down all I heard was we were DONE. But there we are, in the NLCS with games to be played. I'll take them one game at a time. Re journeymen, Kenny Rogers is crushing in your special league. And he was a washout with both NY clubs. You never know who will come up big, Suppan did. There's a reason why they play the games, ask anyone who was on the wrong side of the 1988 dodgers. Still, I'm awful scared of lies ahead.

Posted by: abe at October 15, 2006 3:34 PM

Hey, I am not thrilled with how my team's season turned out but that's the way it goes sometimes.

I never saw one person pick the Dodgers over the Mets even after 2 starters went down (which tells you a lot about the rest of teams in the NL) and I saw very few pick St. Louis/SD over the Mets either. Heavy favorites. Not to defend KR here on this site but frankly Jeff Suppan couldn't carry his jock. KR is 207-139 with a 4.19 ERA lifetime, with 4 All-Star appearances (3 consecutive running) and a perfect game. He may have played for a few teams but he is not a journeyman. Jeff Suppan is 106-101 lifetime but 54-33 in the NL and 52-68 in the AL. Journeyman. And he kicked the Mets ass yesterday. A team like the Mets should beat that guy 9 times out of 10 and they should never get mowed like he mowed them yesterday. Hey, I actually want the Mets to win because I like the Cards even less but after that sad sack performance yesterday I am wondering if they are going Mike Tyson in the 10th round against Buster D.

Posted by: jim at October 15, 2006 3:52 PM

If you guys let Poop-Holes and that group of has been losers beat you and go to the WS I am going to be so fooking pissed.

Hell I'll lend you Oswalt for a night. Except you still have to score to win.

Damnit. Come on Mets. Hit the frickin ball.

Posted by: Dwilkers at October 15, 2006 5:45 PM

Jim, I'm just catching up here on last night's comments - you seem to have overlooked the fact that Suppan's AL career was mainly with the Royals - don't judge him just by his Boston stints.

Posted by: Crank at October 15, 2006 8:42 PM

I know y'all have a bone to pick with The Gambler but you are not seriously comparing Suppan to him? In this stat obsessed site KR kills him regardless of team. Also, I would take that KC sucked and that Suppan was a part of that sucking. I'm no big KR guy but c'mon Suppan is nowhere near his equal. And why not judge him, in part, by his 2nd stint in Boston? (First one, understandable and I was sad to see him go as I thought he had promise.) He was terrible. Lousy. Let's see; great or least good in the NL that year, horrendous in Boston, very good back in the NL. He's a journeyman.

Posted by: jim at October 17, 2006 11:01 AM
Site Meter 250wde_2004WeblogAwards_BestSports.jpg